For several years I’ve been using Intel Bay Trail NUCs (N2820) for perfect 1080p playback with LibreELEC and a fast, lag-free, responsive GUI with the Aeon Nox Silvo skin. It also has fast seeking performance when scrubbing videos over gigabit NFS.
x86 boxes like these were the best I could find at the time that could provide the fastest and most responsive experience.
I’ve recently upgraded my media server for 4K HDR content and now I need to upgrade the players on all the TVs in the house.
Having spent a lot of time reading reviews and comments about the Minix U9-H and its supposed “snappy” interface, I recently purchased one and installed the latest LibreELEC Krypton tweaked build, with the data partition moved to the internal storage and overclocked the GPU.
I was disappointed to discover that the Minix was only about 70% as fluid as the NUC’s skin performance. Also despite the Minix having Gigabit Ethernet, it was slower than the NUC for scrubbing through movies with a longer delay after skipping to a different point in the video. The Minix was also slower at processing database queries as it took longer to load Kodi library elements.
I was confused why a four year old x86 box (that can be bought used for half the price of the U9-H) performed significantly better, then I discovered that the U9-H, being S912 based, does not use native GPU linux drivers which might explain the performance difference. In any case, I will be returning the Minix, because despite its 4K HDR capabilities, it still feels like a downgrade because of its slow usability performance.
I’m intrigued by the new Vero 4K+ and am considering buying 5 units to replace my NUCs. I have a mix of 4K and 1080p TVs but I’ll need players for the 1080P TVs too, as I have a lot of 4K HDR content that will need to be downscaled and tone mapped and the NUCs are too old to hardware decode x265.
Question 1: I assume the Vero 4K+ with AMLogic S905x uses native GPU drivers. If I replace my NUCs with the Vero 4K+, will the UI and scrub performance be significantly better than the Minix U9-H, and be at least as good as the four-year old NUCs that they will be replacing?
Question 2: If not, is there any 4K HDR player hardware out there that can actually provide a properly fast lag-free GUI experience?
Question 3: When playing 4K HDR content on a 1080p TV with a Vero 4K+ (downscaled and tone mapped), does refresh rate switching work? It doesn’t work on the Minix LibreELEC builds that I tried, which is another dealbreaker!
Thanks in advance.